85% of What We Say is Made Up of 250-350 Words

85% of What We Say is Made Up of 250-350 Words

 

As we think about how to organize a communication system for somebody, the first thought needs to be, how do we help them access the most frequently used words? 

  • There are 250 to 350 words that make up 85% of what we all say, and we refer to this as core vocabulary.  For example: “I like your hair”. “I like pizza”. “I don't”. “I” and “you” are core words, so are “like” and “don't”. We put them in different order, we can express some pretty basic things and that's why we call this core.

  • Think of this sentence: “I like chocolate”, or this one, “I like baseball”. “Chocolate” and “baseball” are the fringe words. Core words need to be accessed really quickly because we use them all the time, and fringe words need to be organized. We would find chocolate with all of our favorite foods or we may even find them in a category of desserts. 

As a child's communication skills grow, the system needs to reflect how they can combine words in novel ways to make messages that are their own. The system needs to be organized in a way that helps them to access these words without taking too much time.

"As a child's communication skills grow, the system needs to reflect how they can combine words in novel ways to make messages that are their own."